The Winter Park Express, operated by Amtrak, carries skiers, boarders, snow lovers and other day-trippers between Denver Union Station and Winter Park Resort during ski season. The express runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, January through March or early April. A train first started running on this route in 1912, giving the line plenty of history behind it. Trains depart Union Station at 7 a.m., arriving at Winter Park Resort at 9 a.m. All tickets are one-way only, so passengers can spend the day at Winter Park before boarding the train at 4:30 p.m. for the return trip, arriving at Union Station at 6:40 p.m., or stay overnight or even a week for a romantic getaway. Ticket sales for the following season typically start in August. Reserve seats as far in advance as possible as the train often sells out.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Trains are inherently romantic and this one is no different, traveling across the snowy terrain between Denver and Winter Park high in the mountains.
Christine's expert tip: 2022 dates are Friday, Saturday and Sunday between Jan. 14 and April 3.
City Park's Ferril Lake is a sweet spot for a couple to rent a pedal boat or kayak and spend an afternoon or summer evening out on the water. Created in 1882, City Park was once 320 acres of windswept prairie. Today, it is acres of green and gardens, lakes and home to the Denver Zoo and Denver Museum of Nature & Science, including the IMAX Theater and planetarium. The park lies within five miles of 85 percent of all Denver residents and is both a local destination and prime destination for visitors to the Mile High City. In addition to kayaking and pedal boating, couples can also stroll along the park's bucolic pathways and through its gardens. And if you want to pair your romance with a good workout, there are water trikes to rent.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: City Park is one of the fine spots in the city for a couple to rent a pedal boat and have some fun.
Christine's expert tip: City Park is home to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science with its fabulous planetarium, giving lovers a place to sit under the stars in any weather.
Cooking together can be a fun and romantic activity for couples. Cook Street School offers a series of Culinary Date Night classes where couples learn together how to create foods of different regions of the world, including always romantic France, Italy and Spain. Each February the school also offers Cooking With Cupid classes, where romance is the explicit theme. Regular evening classes, which you can also take together, introduce participants to cuisine from many parts of the United States and the world. There are also classes such as Knife Skills, Wine 101 and Wake Up & Bake, which is guaranteed to add warmth and deliciousness to your intimate weekend breakfasts. The roster of classes is expansive so it's easy to find one with the romantic and culinary appeal you want. Classes typically end with participants eating the food they prepared, paired with a wine or other beverages. Bon appétit, romantics!
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Cook Street School of Culinary Arts offers Date Night cooking classes where couples can bond while cooking together.
Christine's expert tip: Many classes at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts sell out, so book as far in advance as possible.
Stylish and decidedly romantic, The Cooper Lounge is a sophisticated retreat high above the more frenetic activity of the Great Hall in Denver's magnificently restored Union Station. Here couples can enjoy creative cocktails, an extensive wine list and chef-crafted bites in a cozy space that, like Union Station itself, evokes all the romance of the long-ago Golden Age of train travel–, especially in the evening when the lounge takes on its most intimate ambiance as daylight fades from the 23-foot-high windows. Happy hour drinks and bites are available every day from 4 to 6 p.m. Why not make a full romantic evening of it by adding on a stay at the equally romantic Crawford Hotel, also inside Union Station. Cooper Lounge is a compact space so reservations are highly recommended.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Perched above Union Station's Great Hall, The Cooper Lounge is a stylish retreat where couples can enjoy small bites, classic cocktails and each other.
Christine's expert tip: Reservations may be booked up to two weeks in advance for parties of eight or fewer.
One of Denver's oldest carriage companies, Irish Rose Drafts uses different breeds of draft horses, notably Belgians, Clydesdales, Percherons and Suffolk, to pull its signature white carriages through downtown and LoDo. Popular for proposals, anniversaries, Valentine's Day, date nights and other celebrations, the company's horses and classic European carriages are also frequently booked for weddings. Most rides come in 20, 30 or 50 minute times. Snuggling together in a carriage is an especially romantic way to view Denver's holiday lights in winter, and look for specials just for Valentine's Day. This year there are mini and deluxe Valentine rides, plus a grand ride option. There are also three types of rides specifically for proposals, designed with stops where you can get out and pop the question. Management is dedicated to providing the best care for its horses, so they're not sent out if weather is deemed dangerous for them.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Clip-clopping through the streets of LoDo and downtown Denver in a beautiful carriage offers an old-fashioned take on romance.
Christine's expert tip: Pick up for rides reserved in advance is at 16th and Lawrence in front of Gusto at the Tabor Center. Most rides are in the evening hours.
Wine tasting is an inherently romantic activity. There's an intimacy and sophistication to it while also being relatively inexpensive and fun. Denver isn't known for its wineries but Balistreri in North Denver stands out. The wines are purposefully natural, approachable and easy to drink, made using a combination of traditional and modern techniques. Handcrafted one barrel at a time, Balestreri wines have deservedly won awards. The Balistreri family arrived from Sicily in the early 1900s, and though they started as "truck farmers" producing vegetables, they also continued their homeland tradition of making wine for the family. In 1998, that family tradition became a thriving business. In addition to tours and tastings, the winery is an idyllic location for a proposal, bridal shower, wedding, anniversary or photograph setting with its ballroom, sweeping staircase and lovely gardens. Indoor and outdoor spaces are available, with room to accommodate up to 250 guests.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Balistreri stands out among Denver wineries not just for its carefully produced wines but also for its beautiful setting.
Christine's expert tip: Even those who react poorly to sulfites can enjoy wine here. Balistreri's wines are unaltered by chemicals, unfiltered and aged in American oak.
Housed in a Victorian beauty built in 1886, The Woodhouse Day Spa in Denver is about creating relaxing, renewing, restoring and memorable experiences. It all begins with a complimentary mimosa, wine, cocktail or white tea. The spa's Body Balance massage is designed to take your mind and body to a place of total relaxation, and when offered for two in the Couples Retreat experience, the intension is also to foster unity and connection. The Couples Retreat is offered at 50, 80 or 110 minutes. This is Colorado, so you can add a CBD enhancement to your massage, and there's a CBD manicure and pedicure, too. If rejuvenating together is your idea of romance, this is your place. If you want to treat your sweetheart to a day at the spa, gift cards are available as well.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Woodhouse Day Spa is about creating renewing and relaxing experiences for couples and individuals, women and men.
Christine's expert tip: Woodhouse has multiple locations in Colorado in addition to Denver, including Boulder, Golden, Durango, Castle Pines and Fort Collins.
"Wash Park" is a 155-acre expanse of gorgeous gardens, lakes and green lawns–, and arguably the most beautiful spot in the city to watch a sunset. Smith Lake, at the park's northern end, draws a multitude of lovers and others each evening as the sun sinks behind the mountains, turning the lake and sky above it brilliant shades of red, rose and gold. If working out together seems romantic, couples can walk, run, skate and cycle here, and for those who find a quaint romance in croquet, there's a court and lessons provided by a local club each week in summer. Summer also offers surrey bikes and pedal boats for rent, and the boathouse is a romantic wedding venue. If strolling through formal gardens sounds romantic, Washington Park's flower gardens are among the city's most beautiful; one was modeled after the gardens at George Washington's Virginia home, Mount Vernon.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Washington Park sunsets are truly breathtaking and draw crowds every evening.
Christine's expert tip: Take a photo of the two of you with the park's spectacular sunset as backdrop, then head a few blocks east to Gaylord Street or west to Old South Pearl for dinner.
This restaurant is an excellent choice for a romantic celebration or any date night where a romantic aesthetic is desired. Sunday Vinyl, from the same group as Tavernetta next door, offers a combination that's hard to beat: The intimacy of a small restaurant paired with a phenomenal sound system for vinyl records playing throughout the evening that enhance the mood yet never interfere with conversation. An excellent wine list pairs well with the compact, approachable menu. For wine lovers, or those who want to learn together about wines they may not know, the night to go is Wednesday, which is Flight Night here. Each flight includes five fine wines and you can add snacks, appetizers and main dishes to go with them, from oysters and caviar to lobster toast, scallops and short ribs. In the mood for sharing? A Colorado Wagyu strip steak serves two.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: An intimate space with a phenomenal sound system, fine wines and a stellar menu make Sunday Vinyl one of Denver's most romantic restaurants.
Christine's expert tip: Reservations are almost always a must.
Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street is a 24-acre oasis just a few minutes from downtown. Any part of the gardens would be a fine destination for a romantic stroll, but Denver Botanic Gardens has three gardens that together are called the Romantic Gardens, making them especially appealing to couples. The Fragrance Garden, El Pomar Waterway and Schlessman Plaza, all within the Ornamental Gardens, provide idyllic settings for a wedding or vow renewal as well as pretty paths for sauntering hand-in-hand and benches where couples can sit, lost in each other and the profusion of color and fragrances around them. Lavender, lilies, narcissus, oregano, roses and clematis are among the plants and blooms that make these gardens so special. The gift shop is also a gem and could be just the place to find an unexpected treasure for someone you love.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: All gardens are romantic by nature, but Denver Botanic Gardens' Romantic Gardens are especially so.
Christine's expert tip: There are free entry days throughout the year.